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One of the best ways to quickly brighten up a room is to add a bouquet of fresh flowers in a vase. The price of buying flowers can really add up, though, especially if you want a continual supply of bouquets in your home, so growing your own flowers to use as cut flowers is a great way to dramatically cut down on the cost. And an even better way to save money while still enjoying fresh flowers is to grow perennials that make good cut flowers because then you only have to buy a plant once and you can keep cutting fresh flowers for bouquets from that plant for years to come!
Not all perennials make good cut flowers, though. I realized quickly that the name “Day Lilies” is appropriate for those flowers because they only last for one day in a vase, and then they wilt and start to die. So when you are choosing perennials to use as cut flowers, it’s important to pick ones that will last for at least a few days.
All of the perennials in this list are ones that should stay looking fresh in a vase for at least three to four days, and many of them will keep for longer than that. You can extend the amount of time that the flowers stay looking fresh if you pick the flowers when they are just starting to open or are just newly opened. If you pick flowers that have already been blooming for a few days then they most likely won’t last for as long once you cut them and put them in a vase.
There are lots of other perennials that would probably work well as cut flowers, but for this list I included only the ones that I have grown in my own yard and personally tried cutting and bringing inside. As time goes by and I try growing other types of perennials flowers, I can add them to the list.
12 Perennials That Make Good Cut Flowers
Forsythia are usually some of the first flowers that bloom where I live in New England, and the branches make very nice cut flowers that really brighten up the house with their sunny yellow color, especially after a long winter. The flowers stay fresh looking for around a week or so if you pick them when they are newly opened, and if you pick them when they are just buds barely opening then they will last for even longer.
Peonies are one of my favorite flowers, and their big blooms with dozens of petals are gorgeous on the bush growing outside and just as beautiful in a vase inside the house. If you pick the blooms when they are just barely starting to open, they will last for longer in a vase, and the flowers will progressively open up more and more as the days go by.
Salvia adds a deep purple color to bouquets, and the flowers last for several days and up to a week. The darker color adds a nice contrast to other flowers, and the tall, upright shape is a good contrast to flowers with a more traditional petal shape.
Roses are a classic, old-fashioned garden flower that look beautiful in a vase by themselves or also along with other flowers in an arrangement. Rose varieties with longer stems will be the easiest to use as cut flowers, but other varieties of roses can work, too. When using a shorter-stemmed variety you might have to include more leaves and rosebuds in a cluster along with the main bloom that you are wanting to put in your bouquet or you could also try using vases that are shorter to accommodate the shorter stems.
Lilacs are one of the most fragrant blooms to use as cut flowers during the spring time, and they will make an entire room smell like a lilac bush if you put them in a vase. As the days go by, the lilac flowers will gradually get paler in color, but if you pick them after they have just opened, then the more saturated color will last for longer.
Tickseed adds a sunny yellow pop to any bouquet and them small size of the flower creates a nice contrast with larger blooms of other flower types. After a few days the flowers will start to fade, but you can extend their life in the vase by picking them when they are just barely starting to open up.
When you see yarrow growing wild it is typically white, but when you buy yarrow at a garden center you can find several different colors. This particular plant that I photographed was a very light pink, and the blooms are tiny, delicate flowers that add some interest to a flower arrangement. They flowers usually last for several days and up to a week, too.
Pincushion flowers can come in different colors, but a light rosy pink is one I have seen commonly available at garden centers. Pincushion flowers can be either annuals or perennials, so it’s important to check the label when you are buying one to make sure that you are getting the perennial variety if you want the plant to keep coming back each year. The flowers work very well in cut flower arrangements and last for several days and up to a week.
Phlox flowers come in several different color varieties, and they pair well with other flower types in a vase. Just like with lilacs, the flowers tend to get lighter in color after they have been in a vase for a few days. These bright pink phlox flowers turned into almost a pale purple color when I brought some inside, so it was fun to enjoy two different color varieties over the span of a few days.
The flowers that bloom on hosta plants in the summer time make unique additions to a cut flower arrangement and they also look pretty by themselves in a vase as well. They are a bit darker purple than this picture shows because the lighting makes them look more washed-out than they look in real life. And sometimes, in a vase, the flowers near the bottom of the stem will start to wilt first, but if you pinch off the ones that are dying back there are still several more buds further up on the stem that are just starting to open up, so you can extend the amount of days that they will look nice in a vase by pinching off the wilting flowers.
Black-eyed Susan are such bright and cheerful additions to a summer flower arrangement and they pair well with lots of other flowers. The flowers typically last for several days in a vase, usually looking their freshest for four to five days.
Sedum is definitely the longest-lasting of all of the flowers on this list. It will stay looking fresh and pink for several weeks, and as it gets older it will gradually turn into a darker color as gets older. This late summer and fall flower is great for autumn bouquets. I would almost put it into the “everlasting” category of flowers (like with annuals such as statice and globe amaranth.) I will often pick a bunch of sedum blooms and put them in a vase and then just leave them on the windowsill along with mini pumpkins, and they still look good even if I forget about them for weeks! Bees love them in the fall, too, when a lot of other flowers aren’t blooming anymore.
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.